Pre-Trip Briefing 4 Day & 5 Night
1. THE DRIVE
Vioolsdrift is situated on the South African side of the border between South Africa and Namibia. It is a distance of 690 km from Cape Town on the tarred N7. One should leave Cape Town relatively early on the morning prior to the trip departure date, as it is quite a long drive taking 7 to 8 hours by car.
2. THE BORDERPOST
When you arrive in Vioolsdrift, the first thing you have to do is to report to the customs officials at the border post and have your passport stamped to leave South Africa. Proceed over the bridge to Namibia, where you will be required to fill in a form before your passport is stamped. On the form, you are required to give the address in Namibia where you will be staying. Here you write – “Aussenkehr – Orange River” and “(5) five days” for the duration of stay. Once the Namibian authorities have stamped your passport, turn around and drive back over the bridge. At the South African border post explain that you are going to do a river trip with Bushwhacked Outdoor Adventures and that you just came to have your passport stamped. So, in effect, you will have been stamped out of South Africa and into Namibia. On the last day of the trip, we are picked up on the Namibian side of the river and thus have to return from Namibia – so we have to carry our passports with us for the duration of the trip.
Please note: On arrival at the border, and the border is very busy i.e. long queues of cars and people – first come back to camp to rest. You can go back later e.g. After dinner.
3. THE CAMPSITE
“FIDDLERS CREEK CAMPSITE” – is situated on a small farm on the South African Bank of the Orange River, just 10 km from the border post on the gravel road. The camp is equipped with clean ablutions, hot and cold running water, flushing toilets, electricity and bar facilities. Your vehicle will be left at the campsite for the duration of the trip and we have a safe for your valuables.
4. THE TRIP
Please meet us at Fiddler’s Creek campsite by no later than (5) o’clock (17h00) on the evening prior to the trip departure date. Here you will be met by your guides and given a pre-trip briefing on what to expect during the trip and a packing demonstration, followed by a delicious meal. The following morning you will be allocated your boats, shown how to pack these and given an in-depth safety speech by your lead guide.
After breakfast and packing all the equipment into the canoes and or rafts we get into the river from the campsite to begin our (4) four-day river adventure. A slow paddle to the lunch spot will see that everyone gets used to paddling and controlling the canoes and or rafts. We set up camp out in the open, under the stars on the bank of the river, at a site chosen by the lead guide, for the first evening. On the river there are no showers, toilets or power points.
DAY 2 & 3
Both full days of paddling, swimming and walks – each night camping under the stars at different. Sites further down the stream.
An early start after breakfast takes us to the take out point at Sjambok where our transport will be waiting to take us back to the base camp where we spend the last night.
After coffee and a light breakfast, you set out on your journey home.
5. THE WEATHER
Generally, the weather is pretty warm throughout the year with hot days and comfortable nights. During the hotter months – November, December and January it can become incredibly hot with temperatures soaring into 40 C. While during May, June, July and August temperatures become cooler – with sometimes very cold nights. So, it will be advisable to pack appropriately.
6. THE BOATS AND SAFETY
We use crocs – which are two-man inflatable canoes. They are incredibly easy to handle, are very stable and as they are inflatable, are unsinkable. Each trip will be accompanied by at least (2) two professional, registered river guides, who each carry throw ropes and are well versed in river rescue techniques and each person is given a life jacket which they are required to wear on the river.
The following is a guideline list of things to pack for the trip. As everything has to be packed on the canoes and taken with us, it would be wise to take as little as possible. It is also a good idea to pack in your older clothes, as your clothes will probably become very dirty.
WHAT TO PACK?
- Warm sleeping bag with inner liner.
- Foam roll mat (available at most camping outlets).
- Small ground sheet or tarpaulin.
- Lightweight tent (optional – generally the weather is such that a tent is not required and one sleeps outside under the stars).
- Eating utensils – plate, bowl, mug, (preferably plastic or tin). Knife, fork and spoon
- Toiletry bag: toothbrush, toothpaste, shaving kit, hairbrush or comb, deodorant, biodegradable shampoo and soap.
- Strong black plastic bags (at least 4 per person) for waterproofing your personal belongings.
- Small personal first aid kit – a couple of plasters and pain pills.
- Insect repellent.
- Sun tan oil and sun block.
- Lip Ice.
- Torch and spare batteries.
- Hat or cap.
- Sunglasses with straps.
- Warm jacket, jersey or windbreaker.
- Long pants and warm top (for wearing in the evenings).
- Walking shoes.
- 2 x pairs of socks.
- Strops or flip-flops (to be worn on the river).
- 2 x shorts.
- 4 x T-shirts.
- Fishing gear*
- Small fold up chair*
- Gloves (to paddle with eg. Cycling or climbing gloves)*
- Sweets, chocolates, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages (please ensure that all refreshments are either in cans or decanted into plastic bottles, as broken glass tends to be hazardous in the river environment).